The endless narrative at the end of oil
By Andrew Schrader
Contributing writer for End the Lie
The America’s problem today is the philosophical problem of the Ship of Theseus, also known as the King’s Ship. Some have called it a paradox; I call it a reformation:
The King sets out on a voyage with his people. Soon, however, the mast breaks, and the people replace the mast with deck pieces. Then a railing breaks, so the people replace the rail with the broken mast. As the voyage continues, every piece on the ship has been replaced. If every part has been replaced, is it still the King’s Ship?
This question demonstrates the ontological differences between the physical and immaterial, and how we define them. For this discussion, let’s say that the King’s Ship is no longer the King’s Ship once it ceases to function as the King’s Ship.
Our ship – America – is built upon ideals and principles of freedom and liberty as outlined in the Bill of Rights. This immaterial structure (politics), however, is entirely dependent on the ability of the King’s Ship to grow forever (infinite-debt economics).
As the realities of peak oil and resource depletion collide with an economic model of infinite-debt and infinite-growth, we have seen both the disparities between the real economy and the fake economy and the destruction of the ideals on which America was founded.
The Patriot Act, the NDAA, the “Trespass Bill,” and most recently, the National Defense Resource Preparedness Act, were “necessary” in the infinite-growth model in managing the collapse of the King’s Ship.
The trespasses against our liberties need to be understood within the context of the peak oil model: that once world production of petroleum has peaked, true economic growth is impossible, as energy will forever be more difficult and costly to produce, refine, transport, and purchase.
Add to this all the other nations vying for the same decreasing supply of fossil fuels to keep their ships afloat and you have an economic and political climate such as we see unfolding today.
Without context, collapse is chaos. Whether or not you believe in peak oil matters little. All that matters is that you see how the peak oil model runs our world economies and governments. In reality it is how the world works today.
Our Constitution ceases to exist. This should be clear to everyone. The disparity in differences on how to move forward and “restore our rights” grows wider each day, especially those in mainstream and alternative media – whose five day-a-week narrative structures demand endless material. They decry the loss of liberty and demand we fix the King’s Ship.
These people cannot or will not understand the peak oil model. For them, there is infinite energy (particularly fossil fuels), including abiotic oils, shale oil and gas, Canadian tar sands, ethanol, and endless supplies of petroleum – if only the “government” would allow them to be tapped.
Not only is this incorrect, there is no amount of shale, abiotic or fossil fuel energy that will offset declines in oil production to sustain a growing population on board the King’s Ship.
“Free energy” is also touted as a solution (if only the “government” would allow its use). While I understand the physics behind it, it does us no good to hope for its miracle arrival and a national infrastructure to support it.
This is precisely why over $27 trillion (that we know of) in printed or digitized money has done nothing but (attempt to) mask the economic crash and demise of the dollar. You cannot print money without the energy to back it up. Money is only a symbol of future energy expenses, remember.
And for those who believe the peak oil “debate” is a fear-mongering tactic, I would kindly remind you that (a) governments worldwide have realized and acted according to the peak oil model for forty years and (b) If the government wanted to scare you, as they do with “terrorism,” they would do it.
Peak oil cannot (yet) be stated openly by the U.S. government, yet it must be addressed tangentially (climate change).
I believe climate change is real and deadly, but the discussion is also used by our government as a smokescreen.
They are incapable of calling peak oil by name (although we have come close several times now) for fear of stock market crashes, the loss of dollar hegemony, loss of control over the people, etc. But there is no repairing this ship; we do not have the energy to replace its parts.
America is not a place. It is a mindset. To fight for our rights and liberties is to be applauded, as is Chris Hedges’ recent lawsuit against the Obama Administration for the unconstitutional NDAA. If we are to fight, if we are to add “friction to the machine” to slow down the fascist corporatist government (which is not actually our government), we must also realize that our American ideals have been so fundamentally altered that even if the NDAA were nullified tomorrow, the victory would largely be symbolic.
Media at the end of the industrial revolution fall into one of two categories: Those who uphold the status quo, and those who do not. Those who still live in the infinite-growth paradigm and those who have decided to abandon it.
Like our economic and political structures, the infinite narratives in a finite world are also collapsing.
So let’s talk about two seemingly different hosts and shows: Amy Goodman of the progressive “Democracy Now!” and Alex Jones of Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.tv.
“Democracy Now!” and “The Alex Jones Show” are simultaneously episodic and serial shows. They can either pick up from the previous show, if needed for continuity, or move on to other topics. This is an important mechanism for any show to remain flexible. However, these formats by definition can never allow their narratives to end.
To be clear: A narrative that ends does not mean that the show must stop. It does not mean one cannot provide news and information.
A never-ending narrative simply means that no power may be allowed to transfer from the narrator to the receiver. The “how” and the “when” and the “who” of an event is permissible, but the “why” must remain elusive. If true and actionable intelligence is allowed to transfer hands, the narrator risks losing his audience (This is partly why self-censorship is the foundation of all mainstream media business models).
Never-ending narratives are achieved by omission or deception. Either you ignore a “Why?” altogether, like Amy Goodman and the 24-hour news networks, or you engage in a never-ending chase – a “red-herring” battle between the “forces of good and evil”, where the elusive enemy can neither be identified, located, and therefore, never prosecuted. Which is convenient, since “there’s a war on for your mind…”
After 16 years of Amy Goodman covering news in the name of demanding Democracy Right Now! – immediately! – might the “independent” program under Ruppert Murdoch’s purview be better titled “Democracy When!”?*
“PrisonPlanet”: The planet is a prison with global guards. The solution must be to escape the planet. If we take this with InfoWars (“because there’s a war on for your mind”), then we are imprisoned in a global mind control war between the forces of good and evil. Presumably we, the people, are the good. Yet evil apparently won the battle, since we already occupy their global prison. The title disempowers the viewer even before entering. It’s like going to bat with an 0-2 count and a umpire whose strike zone extends bottom-right. If Jones’ goal is to empower the listener, it seems he has defeated his own purpose.
Both programs refuse to inform on the topic of peak oil. Peak oil is easy to understand, but the consequences of having built an infinite-debt, infinite-growth economic and political structure based on finite carbon-deposits in the Earth is both complex and scary. Ironically, if Alex Jones cared to look at the peak oil model, he would find instant proof of his “findings.” Again, it is the “Why?” that matters and the “Why?” that empowers.
Peak oil is denied or omitted by the media and the government for one simple reason: their never-ending narrative structure does not allow for it.
And solutions for fighting the King’s Ship illusion? Amy Goodman offers little to nothing. Alex Jones has decided we should “use their own technology against them,” on every “globalist media platform.” This is an infinite-growth trap and contradiction. For someone who rails against the security state apparatus and believes millions of Americans will be rounded up into FEMA camps – why would he promote simply handing information to the government, presumably making it easier for the government to relocate his listeners to FEMA refugee camps? Whether intentional or not, whether he knows it or not, promoting “change” through a never-ending narrative is confusing at best, destructive at worst.
But here is the caveat – the point of this piece:
Media is what you make of it. The true power of any text, any narrative, comes not from the “author” (the auteur theory in film, for example), but from YOU, the viewer, the individual. Without YOU, there is no meaning. The endless narrative is dependent on your dependence on it.
Therein lies the answer: You cannot win against an endless, disempowering King’s Ship narrative by depending on the endless narrative model. You must disengage.
As collapse progresses, do not expect change from others. The people who uphold these narratives are too deeply embedded, and while small victories will be won on the King’s Ship, the narrative itself will not be swayed.
Yes, there are battles to be fought on board that will slow down the totalitarian “captains,” so do not interpret this as a call to simply roll over and give up. A vote for Ron Paul, for example, is a vote out of self-defense. It works to slow the ship, even if its course remains.
No, this is a call to see the true context of collapse that corporate governance and the endless narrative cannot admit.
Once you understand that the King’s Ship is an illusion, that there is not infinitely cheap energy to keep us afloat, that its function is fundamentally and permanently altered, and that you must disengage from the endless narrative in order to fight it, you have achieved at least the mindset of independence. And that is a truly empowering narrative.
The evil of collapse is not peak oil itself, but the lengths at which governments have gone and will continue to go to keep the infinite-growth narrative economically viable. The USG invades, imprisons, tortures and murders in Our Name. It will target us, its own people, to keep us dependent aboard the ship. Those who think about independence are terrorists. Forget life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – you do not have the right to survive collapse.
The narrative will not end, even as the ship sinks. The function of mainstream news and the Presidency is not to inform, but to talk us down with the ship, because it is more profitable to sink it than it is to save it. The above-mentioned hosts and shows may be good-hearted people, as may our current President (Dostoyevsky wrote that evil men are more simple-minded and naive than we believe), but we must acknowledge their functions on the King’s Ship.
In conclusion, then, watch the following clip and ask yourself, “How does this function in the endless narrative?” As for why it functions this way, I can only conclude that if Alex Jones does not work for Big Oil, he sure as hell acts like it.
Author’s note: Thank you to Michael Ruppert and the staff of CollapseNet.com, from whom I shamelessly rip off.
Andrew Schrader is an independent filmmaker (Fever Night, The Age of Reason) and freelance writer, studying geopolitical trends in media, energy and economics. He currently lives in Austin, TX.
Minor editing by End the Lie